Please click here to access the site and find out more about how to navigate through its wealth of images and information
Conference, Aguilar de Campoo (Palencia)
30 September – 2 October 2016
(VI Coloquio Ars Mediaevalis)
I was the recipient of the generosity of the ARTES Coll & Cortés Travel Scholarship both in 2014 and in 2015, which contributed significantly to the advancement of my PhD research. Both grants were used to support periods of field research in Catalonia, specifically four months in Spring-Summer 2014 and one month in the Summer of 2015.
My PhD research focuses on the reconstruction of the lost Romanesque cathedral of Tortosa, a small town in Southern Catalonia. The Romanesque structure was built in the second half of the twelfth century and later demolished between 1428 and 1703 for the construction of the extant Gothic building. Besides the reconstruction of the lost building, my aim is to shed some light on the connections between Tortosa and the other ecclesiastical buildings of the area, including other Southern Catalan cathedrals and small-scale churches. This is especially important since Tortosa was the first cathedral erected in the region after the Christian conquest of 1148.
Due to the nature of my research, field work is of extreme importance for the study of
archaeological remains in Tortosa, the consultation of local archives, and the analysis of the architectural evidence of the surrounding region for the elaboration of comparisons with contemporary ecclesiastical buildings.
The main achievement of my 2014 stay concerned the reconstruction of the design of the lost cathedral. Earlier analyses had allowed me to develop a number of hypotheses on the original plan of the building, but the lack of solid physical evidence was creating a number of difficulties. Luckily my presence in Catalonia allowed me to learn of a Georadar survey of the Gothic church conducted by a team from the Architecture Faculty of the University Rovira i Virgili in Reus. I was able to meet the research team and work with them on the topic, finally receiving a concrete validation and refinement of my theories.
Another valuable goal reached thanks to the scholarship was the analysis of the architectural context of Southern Catalonia. During both my 2014 and 2015 stays I was able to embark on a number of visits to sites spread across the region, surveying the major cathedrals of Tarragona and Lleida as well as the numerous smaller churches, such as San Salvador de Horta de Sant Joan, Sant Joan dels Ventalles of Ulldecona, and Santa Maria de Agramunt. These visits allowed me to reinforce one of the principal propositions of my research, namely the role of the Romanesque cathedral of Tortosa in shaping the architectural milieu of the region. I hope this argument will not only shed light on the development of Romanesque in Catalonia but also be a case study of the typical drivers behind the creation of a new artistic model.
On top of the two achievements described above, the ARTES Coll & Cortés Travel Scholarship allowed me to refine endless other aspects of my research and meet and interact with local scholars. I am therefore extremely grateful to the ARTES Coll & Cortés Travel Scholarship for making all this possible.
The research undertaken in the United Kingdom thanks to the ARTES / Coll&Cortés scholarship has been included in the framework of my doctoral thesis, ‘Tradition and copy in biblical manuscript illumination in the Iberian Peninsula. The Bibles of San Isidoro de León (1162) and San Millán de la Cogolla (ca. 1200)’, supervised by Dr. José Luis Senra at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
The main body of research had already been completed before being awarded the scholarship: I had thoroughly examined the Bibles of San Isidoro de León and San Millán de la Cogolla, which form the core of the project, as well as their model, the 10th-century Bible of San Isidoro. I had also been able to analyse many other Iberian and French 12th-century manuscripts in order to establish possible influences. Still, the work I carried out in London has allowed me to deepen my understanding of manuscript illumination in Romanesque Europe in general, and of the scriptorium of San Isidoro de León in particular.
Firstly, in order to unveil foreign influences at work on these Spanish Bibles and assess their place in the history of medieval book illustration, I needed to study objects from all over Europe. In this process, the examination of codices preserved in British libraries was the most important task to accomplish due to the strong connections between Spain and England in the 12th century. At that time, artists and workshops travelled from one territory to the other following the path of aristocrats, clergymen and royals such as queen Eleanor Plantagenet, who married the Castilian king Alfonso VIII in 1177. Clear artistic links, such as the involvement of some of the painters from the Winchester Bible on the murals of the chapter house of Sigena, were an important starting point when tackling this issue. Therefore, I needed to look at 12th-century English manuscripts, mainly Bibles such as the ones from Lambeth, Rochester or Bury Saint Edmunds, to assess their possible influence on the Isidorian and Emilianense manuscripts. Furthermore, the British Library preserves some very important illuminated biblical codices dated around the same time as the Leonese and Riojan Bibles from outside England, such as the Bibles from Parc Abbey, Arnstein, or Floreffe, which I had to see.
The comparative analysis I undertook was focused on style, but also looked at iconography and compositions. This study verified the existence of general correspondences between late Romanesque Spanish and European manuscript illustration. However, the parallels do not apply to the details in the Isidorian and Emilianense Bibles, suggesting that there was no direct interdependence between our miniaturists and English and Flemish workshops, as has been otherwise established in relation to French illumination.
The other task I carried out thanks to the scholarship was the analysis of a Sacramentary, British Library, Add. Ms. 39924, the only production of the Isidorian scriptorium currently outside the canonry’s library. In order to carry out a complete study of the workshop in San Isidoro de León in the second half of the 12th century, I needed to examine this manuscript commonly ascribed to it. The codex, made around 1187, was explored from the codicological and palaeographical points of view to verify its origin, and its two full-page miniatures of the Crucifixion and Maiestas were also closely scrutinised.
These observations showed that this work is similar to the other codices issued by the Leonese scriptorium, thus supporting its ascription to it. Quite simple in its decoration, it has been rebound more than once, in view of the current disorder of the quires, which appear in a very chaotic sequence, and the loss of many folios. The analysis of the two illustrations (ff. 9v-10r) and the simple decorated initial (f. 41v), has confirmed its date in the late 12th century. The fact that the style displayed in the two full-page miniatures has no counterpart in any of the other codices made in San Isidoro, corroborated how this scriptorium had to resort to external miniaturists’ workshops to decorate their manuscripts, an instance previously evidenced in the 1162 Bible. Thus, the information gathered from the study of this Sacramentary has confirmed some of my findings about the scriptorium in the Real Colegiata de San Isidoro de León.
In conclusion, the work carried out thanks to the ARTES / Coll&Cortés scholarship has been crucial for the understanding of the place held by the Romanesque Bibles from San Isidoro de León and San Millán de la Cogolla in the wider field of European illumination in the second half of the 12th century. Moreover, it has helped me understand how the scriptorium in San Isidoro de León worked, thus lending weight to the interpretation of data carried out in my doctoral thesis.
Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain and Ireland (CRSBI) Annual Lecture 2015
Tuesday 28 April 2015
17.30, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre, Courtauld Institute of Art
Tessa Garton (Professor Emerita, College of Charleston, South Carolina):
Evidence Set in Stone? Twelfth-century Sculptors and Workshop Practices in Northern Palencia, Spain
Open to all, free admission
The northern region of Palencia, close to the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, contains a remarkable number of well-preserved and richly carved Romanesque churches, concentrated in the region around Aguilar de Campoo, and close to quarries with excellent quality stone for sculpture. The repetition of similar designs at many different locations suggests a system of professional production by a workshop engaged on multiple commissions, and the mass-production of standard motifs. Signatures and inscriptions provide evidence of the increasingly professional status of sculptors; most remarkable is the portal at Revilla de Santullan, where Micaelis depicts himself next to the apostles and in the act of carving the tablecloth for the Last Supper. The discovery of marginal engravings on a group of sculptures recently removed from the church at Santa Maria de Piasca, in Cantabria, provides further insights into the working practices of the masons.
Tessa Garton studied History of Art at the University of East Anglia with Peter Lasko and Eric Fernie, and at The Courtauld Institute of Art with George Zarnecki, writing her PhD on Early Romanesque Sculpture in Apulia. She taught at the University of Aberdeen and at the College of Charleston, South Carolina, and has recently retired. Her major area of interest is Romanesque sculpture; she served as an investigator for the Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Ireland, and has studied Romanesque sculpture in Apulia, Scotland, Ireland, France and Spain. Her recent research has been focused on northern Spain, on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela and the region of northern Palencia.
Ex ungue leonem. Marble heads by the Master of Cabestany, Barcelona, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, 4 April – 28 September 2014.
The four marble heads displayed in Room 4 of the Museum are fragments from the doorway of Sant Pere de Rodes, carved in the second third of the twelfth century, a masterpiece attributed to the Romanesque sculptor the ‘Master of Cabestany’. His work has been found in several places in southern Europe, from Tuscany (Italy) to Navarre, although most of the examples conserved are to be found in northern Catalonia and Languedoc. The doorway they once belonged to was destroyed sometime between 1800 and 1825. The four heads are on loan from private collections, and from the museums of Girona and the Fitzwilliam, Cambridge.
ARTES is delighted to announce that the 2014 Juan Facundo Riaño Essay Medal has been won by Lesley Thornton-Cronin, a first year PhD student at Glasgow University, for her essay ‘Image-Making by Means of Metaphoric Transposition in the Work of Joan Miró’.
The runner-up prize is awarded to Maria Teresa Chicote Pompanin, a masters student at the Warburg Institute, London, for her essay ‘Subsecuentis picturae. Una mirada medieval desde las Vanguardias’.
Members and guests are invited to the Awards Ceremony at the Spanish Embassy, at which Lesley will give a short presentation based on her essay. The Ceremony will take place on Thursday 20th March 2014 at 6.30 pm and be preceded by drinks at 6.00 pm. If you would like to attend the event, please contact Beatriz Mérida directly at the Embassy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that photo ID is required for entry.